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Old 01-29-2017, 06:21 PM
 
Location: The Heart of Dixie
10,235 posts, read 15,949,868 times
Reputation: 7215

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I'm curious because I'm writing a fictional story set in Central America under the backdrop of the gang violence and drug wars taking place there. It will be about a CIA black ops team taking on the Zetas cartel and MS-13 on their home turf after they kidnap a group of American citizens from a medical missions trip in the Guatemalan highlands, including a CIA computer hacker whom they plan to use to defeat the new security measures at the Mexican border. I hope to draw attention to a different conflict beyond radical Islamic terrorism that poses a threat to the United States.

Some people in the U.S., especially in the liberal media and activist circles are comparing Central America to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the debates about the illegal immigration crisis from Central America. They claim that the minors crossing the border illegally are refugees and compare the level of violence in countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to war zones in the Middle East. I've read that many cities in Central America (and Mexico and Brazil too) do have violent death rates that rival that of Gaza and Beirut. THis is usually in an attempt to garner sympathy for illegal immigrants and support things like the Dream Act. Similar claims about war-zone level violence in Central America and Mexico is also used by more conservative media to justify the construction of the wall to prevent these things from spreading into the US. So how similar is Central America to the Middle East?

Do gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18 really operate like the militias in Beirut and Kabul with roadblocks and checkpoints like some news articles have mention or is that overblown? Are they similarly armed with advanced military grade weapons? Would it realistic to have a scene where cartel gunmen in technicals armed with machine guns set up a roadblock in the middle of a major highway or a busy city street to check the IDs of people entering a specific gang-controlled neighborhood and where a man is publicly executed by corrupt police? Would MS-13 forces realistically engage an American black ops/special forces team in an extended firefight with assault weapons, grenades and rocket launchers in an urban barrio?

Is the worship of Santa Muerte comparable to a jihad where cartel members are often willing to fight to the death? Is honor a theme within the narcotrafficking scene the way Arab and Muslim honor is central to the Middle Eastern conflicts? Is the sense of machismo and cajones also part of why cartel gunmen fight to the death? Is the sense of tension on the streets of Guatemala City or Tegucigalpa similar to what you'll see in Beirut, Gaza City and East Jerusalem? Or is Tegucigalpa just Detroit on steroids?

I know the treatment of women in Central America is probably better than in the Islamic world, but how similar is the idea of machismo to the treatment of women as property in the Middle East and its impact on gender roles? Would it reflect poorly on a man if his wife has to work out of economic necessity/seen as a shame because he alone isn't able to provide? And I know actual honor killings are more of an Islamic/Middle Eastern thing but is it common in Latin America for a family to disown a rape victim for bringing shame on the family? And would a rape victim be ostracized by her community, even if its the kind of situation where she was taken off a bus in a cartel roadblock and raped by gang members?
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Old 02-05-2017, 11:09 PM
 
Location: The Heart of Dixie
10,235 posts, read 15,949,868 times
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Nobody familiar enough with these two regions and how the situation compares?
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Old 02-06-2017, 05:16 AM
 
7,855 posts, read 10,300,208 times
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the usa has a long history of interfering in both regions , other than that , i dont see much comparison
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Old 02-06-2017, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Canada
7,363 posts, read 8,420,498 times
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I don't see may parallels with the middle east.

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
I hope to draw attention to a different conflict beyond radical Islamic terrorism that poses a threat to the United States.
Immigranats from the highlands of Guatemala are not a threat to the United states. Guatemala city and surrounding areas are dangerous but the western Highlands, where the large majority of people are indigenous Mayans are really not so bad. The Guatemalan highlands is probably the poorest region in the hemisphere but it has a low rate of violent crime compared with Guatemala city and other near by areas.



Quote:
Do gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18 really operate like the militias in Beirut and Kabul with roadblocks and checkpoints like some news articles have mention or is that overblown?
Overblown. In El salvador gangs control certain areas and have put a curfew in one or two areas controlled by them. That is the only thing remotely like that I have heard of. You would not see them out in the open with guns anywhere.

Quote:
Are they similarly armed with advanced military grade weapons
?

No

Quote:
Would it realistic to have a scene where cartel gunmen in technicals armed with machine guns set up a roadblock in the middle of a major highway or a busy city street to check the IDs of people entering a specific gang-controlled neighborhood and where a man is publicly executed by corrupt police?
Not realistic.

Quote:
Would MS-13 forces realistically engage an American black ops/special forces team in an extended firefight with assault weapons, grenades and rocket launchers in an urban barrio?
They might engage them but would be put down quickly. I doubt most would engage them though, most would run away.

Quote:
Is the worship of Santa Muerte comparable to a jihad where cartel members are often willing to fight to the death?
No. The idea of jihad comes from religion. Most people in the middle east are Muslims. Most central Americans are not gang or cartel members. The vast majority are Catholic or evangelical and would be considered good Christians by most conservatives.

Quote:
Is the sense of tension on the streets of Guatemala City or Tegucigalpa similar to what you'll see in Beirut, Gaza City and East Jerusalem?
Maybe during the 80s when they had an armed political conflict going on, not now. It is still a dangerous place, it does feel tense in some parts.

Quote:
And I know actual honor killings are more of an Islamic/Middle Eastern thing but is it common in Latin America for a family to disown a rape victim for bringing shame on the family? And would a rape victim be ostracized by her community, even if its the kind of situation where she was taken off a bus in a cartel roadblock and raped by gang members?
No and no.

Last edited by UrbanLuis; 02-06-2017 at 06:04 AM..
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:06 PM
 
3,282 posts, read 3,798,412 times
Reputation: 2971
Why don't you actually do research in some Central American countries instead of depending on online armchair analysts who cycle conspiracy theories?

Central America has diverse, distinct countries, each with their own set of problems. It's irresponsible and wrong to be making far-fetched connections and not taking the time to understand the local culture/problem of the place you are referring to.

Take some history classes and travel to Central America.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Fortaleza, Northeast of Brazil
3,996 posts, read 6,813,074 times
Reputation: 2495
The only parallels that I can see between the two regions is that in both you can cross border after border jumping from one country to another, and people in every country will (mostly) have the same religion, and speak the same language.

In the Middle East, Islam (religion) and Arabic (language), in Central America, Catholicism (religion) and Spanish (language).
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Old 02-06-2017, 03:44 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
2,694 posts, read 3,197,572 times
Reputation: 2763
Beirut definitely isn't comparable to Gaza or Kabul, and East Jerusalem was essentially annexed by the Israelis decades ago. They'll likely never give it back, and the historic sites you think of as being in Jerusalem, namely the entire Old City, are all in the eastern section of Jerusalem. It's by no means war torn. It's probably safer than many of the large cities here in America.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:20 AM
 
1,001 posts, read 884,582 times
Reputation: 478
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
I'm curious because I'm writing a fictional story set in Central America under the backdrop of the gang violence and drug wars taking place there. It will be about a CIA black ops team taking on the Zetas cartel and MS-13 on their home turf after they kidnap a group of American citizens from a medical missions trip in the Guatemalan highlands, including a CIA computer hacker whom they plan to use to defeat the new security measures at the Mexican border. I hope to draw attention to a different conflict beyond radical Islamic terrorism that poses a threat to the United States.

Some people in the U.S., especially in the liberal media and activist circles are comparing Central America to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the debates about the illegal immigration crisis from Central America. They claim that the minors crossing the border illegally are refugees and compare the level of violence in countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to war zones in the Middle East. I've read that many cities in Central America (and Mexico and Brazil too) do have violent death rates that rival that of Gaza and Beirut. THis is usually in an attempt to garner sympathy for illegal immigrants and support things like the Dream Act. Similar claims about war-zone level violence in Central America and Mexico is also used by more conservative media to justify the construction of the wall to prevent these things from spreading into the US. So how similar is Central America to the Middle East?

Do gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18 really operate like the militias in Beirut and Kabul with roadblocks and checkpoints like some news articles have mention or is that overblown? Are they similarly armed with advanced military grade weapons? Would it realistic to have a scene where cartel gunmen in technicals armed with machine guns set up a roadblock in the middle of a major highway or a busy city street to check the IDs of people entering a specific gang-controlled neighborhood and where a man is publicly executed by corrupt police? Would MS-13 forces realistically engage an American black ops/special forces team in an extended firefight with assault weapons, grenades and rocket launchers in an urban barrio?

Is the worship of Santa Muerte comparable to a jihad where cartel members are often willing to fight to the death? Is honor a theme within the narcotrafficking scene the way Arab and Muslim honor is central to the Middle Eastern conflicts? Is the sense of machismo and cajones also part of why cartel gunmen fight to the death? Is the sense of tension on the streets of Guatemala City or Tegucigalpa similar to what you'll see in Beirut, Gaza City and East Jerusalem? Or is Tegucigalpa just Detroit on steroids?

I know the treatment of women in Central America is probably better than in the Islamic world, but how similar is the idea of machismo to the treatment of women as property in the Middle East and its impact on gender roles? Would it reflect poorly on a man if his wife has to work out of economic necessity/seen as a shame because he alone isn't able to provide? And I know actual honor killings are more of an Islamic/Middle Eastern thing but is it common in Latin America for a family to disown a rape victim for bringing shame on the family? And would a rape victim be ostracized by her community, even if its the kind of situation where she was taken off a bus in a cartel roadblock and raped by gang members?
How you cited Brazil I will give a partial opinion
I don’t think that both situations have any similarities. Gangs members in Latin America are just criminals looking for money, they are normal criminals. In middle east jihadists have religious motivation.
I am not sure for weak countries like Honduras or El Salvador and don’t know if Mexican army fought against gangs but in Brazil gangs really do not face the Brazilian army or even any special police force, they flee. They act in areas where is notorious the lack of Brazilian State presence.

If a woman is raped in Latin American the ‘’macho culture’’ is exactly the opposite, mans have to kill the rapists, because that, rapists are always killed when jailed for another kinds of bandits in the prisons.
Is normal rapist be lynched by people at street too.
The macho culture see also that in case of kids, daughters, wife raped their relatives specially fathers and brothers weren’t ‘’enough man’’ to protect her.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:12 AM
 
881 posts, read 925,375 times
Reputation: 488
Pretty arbitrary comparisons...
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:42 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
4,801 posts, read 2,808,538 times
Reputation: 4928
Default The map is not the territory

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalaMan View Post
The only parallels that I can see between the two regions is that in both you can cross border after border jumping from one country to another, and people in every country will (mostly) have the same religion, and speak the same language.

In the Middle East, Islam (religion) and Arabic (language), in Central America, Catholicism (religion) and Spanish (language).
The first statement is a very broad simplification - too much, I think.

In the Middle East, yes, it's mostly Islam (Sunni & Shi'a). Sunni is by far the most common Islam, but the Shi'a are concentrated in Iran & scattered throughout other countries - Iraq, Syria, etc. & there are other religions throughout the ME - Judaism in Israel, various Christian communities - although these latter are under pressure from the Islamic majorities or factions. The Judaic communities have mostly left - either to Israel or somewhere else.

Iran mostly speaks Farsi (58%), or Turkic (26%). Lebanon is divided up into factions now, political, religious, ethnic, by language.

In C. America, Catholicism was the most prevalent (but there's always been a base of Native People's religions - probably more true now that Protestant missions are also visiting & establishing churches). Any proselytizing religion in CA will have to incorporate NP's languages, customs, values & so on. Languages also vary in CA - especially away from the cities. See Most Commonly Spoken Central American Languages
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